A wide range of circumstances can put a family at risk of losing their home. Unexpected expenses, reduced income, medical or marital problems, and natural disasters can create significant financial distress.
As a result, many people feel trapped and worry about losing their home to foreclosure. They don’t want to ask for help from friends and relatives, yet are often too scared to call their lender to find out what solutions are available. A large number of these homeowners can’t even bear to open mail from their mortgage company, fearing they may soon lose their home.
Historically, there have been a wide range of options to find help. Talking with a HUD-approved housing counselor, seeking help from a local social service agency, checking with local and national government officials, working with your mortgage servicer, or simply searching online for resources are some of the places you go to get help. Unfortunately, the resources to help financially-distressed homeowners are scattered and disorganized so that many of these organizations are often unaware of the full range of options that are available to help a family holistically improve its situation.
However, earlier this year, a bold new initiative to bring together all these resources and provide free access to homeowners, counselors, servicers, and government was launched. Now, with a few clicks on the internet, distressed homeowners and people facing other financial problems can now quickly find help for most financial issues at www.MyLoanHelp.me. And, on their own or through the platform, they can connect directly with the organization to find out more information or ask for help.
Funded by a grant from the Finance of America Foundation, MyLoanHelp.me is free, central source of information about financial aid programs nationwide, including state and federal government programs and private charitable resources. It is free for everyone. And no one searching or applying for help will ever have their personal information or data sold to a third party.
While foreclosures have dropped significantly since the financial crisis a decade ago, hundreds of thousands of American families still face the prospect of losing their homes.
Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 624,753 U.S. properties in 2018, down 8 percent from 2017, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. Lenders repossessed 230,305 properties through foreclosure (REO) in 2018. Despite the drop in foreclosure activity compared to 2017, ATTOM reported double-digit percentage increases in Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee and Austin last year.
MyLoanHelp.me is the brainchild of the Finance of America Foundation and HLP. The goal is to provide solutions for homeowners and others in financial distress. It believes that while hundreds of new programs were created during the financial crisis to help homeowners, the solutions were confusing. In addition, homeowners had no central source for help.
At MyLoanHelp.me, people can get help quickly and find solutions available from government agencies, mortgage companies, nonprofit organizations and others. After submitting only six pieces of information, people can learn about various programs that may offer solutions.
Finance of America Foundation has spent several months testing its site and taking recommendations from a team of advisors. Barney Frank, former U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, is one of several outside advisors that has offered help in designing the new platform.
We know our economy and housing issues are cyclical, and we are already seeing early warning signs of future problems. In addition, the site can help people facing unusual, one-time issues, such as a hurricane or other natural disasters that causes major property damage or problems faced by workers as a result of the federal government shutdown.
By creating a comprehensive database and a secure way to apply for help, people facing these hardships will be empowered with the tools needed to help them keeps their homes.
MyLoanHelp.me’s platform now includes programs and resources from 234 different organizations from around the nation. But the number of programs listed there is expected to continue to grow to more than 1,000 by the end of 2019.
The site’s program management tool enables the largest commercial banks, mortgage servicing companies, government agencies, private, local resources and nonprofit counselors to exchange data and documents with homeowners seeking loan modifications and other assistance. Program managers are able to keep their program information updated, add or remove programs and customize program eligibility requirements all from a simple interface.
Mark Cole is Chief Executive Officer of HLP, a nonprofit mortgage technology company based in Baltimore. HLP ’s web portal is a one-stop technology solution to help homeowners nationwide ensure that critical documents from distressed homeowners reach mortgage companies. To find out more about HLP’s services, visit www.hlp.org.